Hospitality: 1. a spiritual gift. 2. the act of making room, making ready, and being available for the needs of others. 3. the spiritual practice that calls the disciple to see Christ in the other.
For Jesus and those who follow him, hospitality is a daily practice that transforms and opens the heart. Once Jesus’ first disciples got over the shock of preparing a quick meal for 5,000 or allowing kids into the VIP section to see Jesus, they discovered that hospitality meant more than being warm and friendly (Matthew 14:13–21; Luke 18:15–17).
Hospitality changes our hearts and guides our actions so that we are available to meet the needs of others. Practicing hospitality with this understanding shifts the focus from the host who is in control, to the Holy Spirit who guides us as willing partners ready to serve. When disciples embody spiritual hospitality, the pressure to be perfect is lifted and the focus shifts to the Holy Spirit, who transforms both guest and host. This transformation gives a new image to hospitality, moving beyond the traditional images of serving in church kitchens and basements.
This message was adapted from the Hospitality: More Than Warm and Friendly resource written by Valora K Starr and available from the Women of the ELCA website in both English and Spanish.